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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did you know that the entire Commonwealth of Virginia used to be Virginia Indian territory, an area estimated to have been occupied by indigenous peoples for more than 12,000 years with an estimated population of about 50,000?  Once such Virginia Indian was Pocohantas, a Native American Brown Girl and daughter of Wahunsunacock, chief or leader of what is now known as the Powhatan Indian Chiefdom.  Pocahontas' formal names were Matoaka (or Matoika) and Amonute, however, she converted to Christianity (after her marriage to English settler John Rolfe) and after her baptism, Pocahontas was called Rebecca Rolfe.  After her death, increasingly fanciful and romanticized representations of Pocahontas were produced. The only contemporary portrait of Pocahontas is Simon van de Passe's engraving of 1616 (see image above). In this portrait, he tried to portray her Virginia Indian features whereas later portraits often portrayed her as more European in appearance.  [Source: Wikipedia]

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